In the event that your Spring is more grey, overcast and melty than sunny and daffodil-filled, have a read through this truly fantastic (and exhaustive) list of ideas to get yourself out of a funk by the lovely and talented Steff Metal!
In bed. Just you, something (or someone) to snuggle, a laptop, notebook or sketchpad, some rad music, a good movie, and a hot cup of chocolate. It’s the perfect antidote for dreary weather or cancelled plans.
Buy one of those “make your own sushi” kits from the supermarket, and learn to roll your own little roundels of heaven. Once you get good at the traditional Western “chicken teriyaki”, experiment with kooky flavors. My favorite sushi is avocado, cream cheese and pineapple. No joke.
Eat your sushi sitting on the floor watching kung fu, Japanese horror, or a good ole-fashioned anime tentacle sex-scene.
3. Send Postcards
Buy a packet of ten postcards and send a note to your friends – even the ones you see every day. Tell them how awesome you think they are, and how much you love hanging out with them. Or, if you want to be less sappy, just quote some Manowar lyrics and tell them they smell. I even make heavy metal postcards for just this purpose!
4. Share the Cookie Wuv
You are going to a gig at the local metal bar. Bake a batch of cookies and bring them along to share. You have now made 50 new friends.
Find poems you like and hang them on your wall or write them on your diary. Every time I read words fitted together like an intricate puzzle, I feel like the whole world is magic. I really love the work of Catullus and Henry Wordsworth Longfellow and Richard Brautigen and Dean Koontz. Even old Aliester Crowley created remarkable imagery.
6. Dress Up
Create outfits of ridiculous clothes and accessories to do mundane tasks. Walk the dog in your bondage pants and Pantera shirt, vacuum the house in a tutu and high heels, buy milk at the store in nothing but a trench coat. (I’ll let you invent your own definition of “ridiculous”).
7. Make Magic Everyday
Learn a magic trick – it could be something a simple as a card trick or a slight-of-hand. Practise until you’re really good, and delight your friends next time you see them. Don’t give away your secret.
8. Ich bin ein Stern
Buy a packet of glow-in-the-dark stick-on stars (you know the ones). Sneak into a friends house while they’re away, and decorate the ceiling of their room. They probably won’t notice till they turn off their light.
Watch a DVD of one of your favorite stand-up comedians. If you don’t have a favorite stand-up comedian, I suggest you get one! Here be my favorites: Dylan Moran, Ed Bryne, Eddie Izzard, Flight of the Conchords.
10. The Royal Bedchamber
Make a canopy and coronet for your bed. Go to the fabric store and choose luxurious fabrics – chintz and brocade and lace and satin – in your favorite colours. Gather them on the ceiling and tie them to the corners of your bed. You can attach curtain rods to the ceiling to create a dramatic canopy. If you have any leftover fabric, make a few simple pillows to match. You are now a princess.
11. Paper Hat
Wear a paper hat. You don’t have to stick to the simple boat-shape. Why not design a paper bowler hat, beret or top hat? I have a mini-top hat with a flower I made entirely from Braille paper, which I do wear out on occasion (I shall find a picture)
12. Healing Stores
Go to one of those hippie shops and buy yourself something weird – a homeopath treatment or some incense or a dream catcher or a reiki massage or whatever they’re got on offer. Hell, what have you got to lose?
Run yourself a bath. Gather together all your exquisite bathroom pampering treatments – all the luscious soaps and decadent shower gels you haven’t opened because they’re “special” and you don’t want to use them up. Open them all. Use them all. Take the phone off the hook, put up a do-not-disturb sign, pour yourself a glass of wine or mead, put on some relaxing music, and read a book, or stare at the ceiling.
Blow bubbles. You can buy little jars of bubble mixture at those $2 shops, or make a simple bubble mixture at home using dish washing liquid, water, and sugar or corn syrup. TIP: Storing your solution for a day can actually lead to better bubbles.
15. Fly a Kite
I never forget the thrill of a kite soaring through the sky, tugging at the string in a desperate attempt to be free. Some shops rent kites – a friend and I rented one from a shop on the Gold Coast once, but you’d have to google your area to find out where they are. Better yet, make your own kite.
Find one of those treasure-trove fabric and trimming shops with hundreds of bits of old lace and rooms of buttons and bins of fabric offcuts. Set yourself a budget – say, $15, and find a mad ensemble of items. Take them home and decorate a hat, headband, bag, necklace or bag.
17. Midnight Snackage
Invite someone over for a midnight snack – someone who makes you laugh so hard your stomach hurts. Eat nachos from the plate together and giggle. Last night, a friend and I stayed up late watching old favorites from our DVD collection and eating apple and rhubarb crumble.
Wear a suspender belt (‘garters’ if you’re American) with stockings. All day, every day. Even if your a guy.
Wear bells around your ankles. You can buy ankle bells at medieval markets. I love them, although you can never sneak up behind someone to surprise them.
20. Inexpensive Pampering
Go to a shop like “Lush” and spend some time smelling everything. Then buy yourself a little treat. Many people like to buy incredible handmade soap from Etsy – I don’t, because I live in NZ and the shipping makes it horrendously expensive. Plus you loose out on the smelling – the smelling is the important part.
You should drink water more often – it’s good for you and makes you feel happy. But it should also be fun. Buy yourself a water bottle – not one of those one-use plastic ones, but something grymm, like a stainless steel masterpiece or a skull-shaped bottle. Or find yourself a beautiful vintage glass bottle and use that. I bet you’ll feel like a pirate!
22. Out, out, dammed spot!
Quote Shakespeare at inappropriate moments. If you’ve never developed an appreciation for Shakespeare, it’s never too late to pick up a copy of Richard III or a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Or why not go against the grain and read some Ben Johnson or Thomas Marlowe instead? They were bloody good, too.
23. Ancient Foibles
If you really, really can’t understand the modern English, read Aristophanes – an ancient Greek comic writer. He’s hilarious. Seriously, laugh out loud funny, especially if you have a passing knowledge of ancient Greek culture and mythology. Try the Lysistrata, a play about a group of wives who are desperate to stop the war between Athens and Sparta and bring their husbands home to sleep with them – so desperate, they declare a SEX STRIKE until the war is over. Hilarity Ensues.
Buy or make an amazing gift – like a mix CD of your favorite songs or a beautiful box of chocolates – and wrap it in a big box with a pretty ribbon. Give it a tag saying “to you”, and place it in the middle of the sidewalk outside your window. Watch how long it takes before someone picks it up.
Change your passwords on your email, your bank, your paypal account, everything, to words that make you smile. Banana, elocution, evisceration, duped, muggle, flippant, pumpkmen, snooty, sneed, salacious … the possibilities are endless!
26. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Find a playground in your area. Swing on the swings. Better yet, if you have a backyard with a tree, build a swing for yourself. I find all the world’s problems can be solved by a little swing-time.
27. Love your Fear
If you’re afraid of something, tell yourself you actually love it. I’ve found if you tell yourself something often enough, eventually you’ll believe it. I used to be afraid of thunderstorms, until I started telling myself I loved them: the epic display of nature’s prowess, the anticipation of waiting for thunder, that feeling of being warm and safe inside. Now I love them.
28. To the Theatre
Go and see a play. No, not a movie. An actual display of live theatre. You can find descriptions of plays on theatre websites – local productions cost about the same as a movie ticket, and they often give student discounts. You could travel even further from the norm and try the ballet. I went to the ballet once, and loved it, although it was a production of Dracula. The costumes … sigh!
29. Write to Your Idols
Compile a list of all the people in the world you want to meet – all the amazing artists, writers, musicians, actors, thinkers, dreamers and activists who’ve inspired you over the years.
Start emailing them and making contact. Tell them everything you’d want to tell them in real life – how they touched your life and inspired your own creativity, which of their works had the greatest impact on you, what you think of their latest project. Ask their opinion on matters concerning the world and point them in the direction of your own work. You never know, you might even get a reply!
30. Read Outside
There’s something very peaceful about reading a book under a tree, or while sitting on a wooden bench in a deserted rose garden.
31. Join the Library
I lived in Auckland for four and a half years before I joined the public library, and, although I had access to the university library, I regret my sojourn from fiction books. Now, I work right next door to the library, and I’m reading a book or two every week. Plus, you can use the Internet there for free, and they run fun events and readings and competitions.
32. Break from Technology
Stop watching TV for a week. Unplug the modem. Live in the real world totally and utterly for a week. Sometimes I feel as though we live too much of our life online, and we make contacts, but no real connections. Get out into the world and experience RL for a week – if nothing else, you’ll have something interesting to write about when you get back to your blog.
The very act of focusing your thoughts into a haiku relaxes and empowers you. (For those of you who don’t know, a haiku is style of Japanese poetry: the first line has 5 syllables, the second line 7, and the third line 5. Write all your emails in haiku.
34. Krieg Up your Wallet
I bet you keep your money in a plain leather wallet, don’tchya? Well, find something cooler. What about this fleur-de-lys Stone Hinged wallet? Or this Steampunk Gear leather wallet? Or a gothic cigarette tin wallet?
35. Re-create your Food Lust
Think of your favorite food at your favorite restaurant. Now, scour the Internet and all the fancy cookbooks for a likely recipe. Buy all the fresh ingredients and attempt to make your fave dish at home. You probably won’t succeed, but you might come up with something even nicer, or, at the very least, a new appreciation of the skill of your favorite chef.
36. Green Thumb
Buy a weird plant and take care of it. By weird, I mean a deadly nightshade or Venus flytrap or sarracenia or nepenthes. Check out this gothic garden livejournal community for more ideas.
37. Hang Windchimes
I’ve always loved the tinkle of windchimes and crystals. I lined the entire length of my window in my room at my folk’s house with various chimes – ceramic bells I strung up with beads, clear crystals that sparkle in the sun, blown glass droplets which make an incredible sound when they clink together, a ceramic wind chime, dream catchers, African animals with bells … it’s so colorful and cheery.
During my second year of uni, a friend and I embarked on an important and dangerous mission: to banish those horrid words “like” and “totally” from our everyday vocab, when used as a sentence filler “You’re like totally kidding me?” or “I want to, like, find that shirt I lost.” So every time I’d say one of those words, she’s interrupt me and I’d have to say the sentence again, without using “like”. After awhile, your brain gets sick of being interrupted all the time and you stop saying them. It worked for a good two or three years. They’ve crept back into my vocab, and my writing, but I aim to remedy this!
39. Learn Braille
Yes, you read correctly. You’re probably not blind, but you could learn Braille anyway. First, you learn to read the dots with your eyes and interpret them as letters, and then you learn contractions “ed” and “and” and “st”, etc. It’s super easy, like learning a secret code, and will make trips in elevators more fun.
Also, you learn something of what it would be like to lose one of your senses. You understand that, no matter what happens to you, the world keeps turning, and dragging you with it. You can survive anything.
40. Alternatively, learn Sign Language
For the same reasons above.
41. Wear a Mask
If you’re feeling lonely and self-conscious, why not hide your face with a mask? If you want to hide away, hide behind a wall of latex or leather or sequins or lace. You can find venetian masks at Masquerade Magic or cyber masks at Obscuria.
You know exercise is good for you, and it makes you feel good. So exercise! Run around the block, do star jumps in the living room. Find the local ice-skating rink or rock climbing wall, hike through the park, practise yoga, salsa dancing or burlesque (you can find lots of free lessons on youtube).
I am legally blind. I can barely see three feet in front of my face. Yet I love archery. Strutting around with a massive bow and arrows in your quiver feels awesome. I’m constantly posing like I’m in Lord of the Rings. Archery takes concentration, a steady hand and a keen eye (or a good spotter). It’s a sport you do outdoors, rain or shine, by yourself or with a friend. There’s no shouting, no balls flying everywhere, no team rivalry … just you and a bow and your own internal challenges.
44. No One at Home
Change your voicemail message to something hilarious. Mine says “Hello, you’ve reached Steff’s cell. Unfortunately, I can’t come to the phone right now, as I’m preparing for the imminent zombie apocalypse. If you’re listening to this, I suggest you find yourself a sharp implement and head to your nearest shopping mall.” All the messages I receive begin with the callers giggling.
45. Worship a new God
Go to a religious service of a religion you don’t belong to and don’t believe in, (only if this is allowed and you’re not offending anyone). Really embrace the experience with an open mind and try to learn something about who these people are, who they believe in and how their faith affects their everyday life.
46. High Heels
Make yourself a pair of stilts. All you need are two sturdy planks or wood, and two wooden squares to act as footholds. Bolt / nail / glue the squares to the wooden planks, sand down the rough edges and practise your high walking!
47. Participate in Operation Beautiful
Operation Beautiful’s mission is to put up anonymous notes in public places for other women to find. The notes say “you are beautiful” and give the Operation Beautiful web address. I’ve put up a few around Auckland, and I hope they made somebody’s day.
Dig out your favorites – the music that makes you feel the world is full of wonder. Play loud, sing along, dance on the bed, throw your arms around, headbang, smash something, slow dance with your cat.
49. Realise a Lifelong Dream
Have you ever had a dream come true? I can’t describe the feeling – like everything in your whole life has lead up to that moment, and nothing will ever make you sad again.
I’ve wanted to see the Great Pyramids since I was … ooh, about seven. And when I stood there, and I touched them, and I went inside, I cried. Not very tough, I know. But they were more incredible than I could ever imagine. So get out there and make a lifelong dream come true.
50. Decide on a Lifelong Dream
Maybe you’ve never had a dream come true because you don’t have a dream … or you don’t think you do.
Write a list of things you wish you could do before you die. Keep the list nearby you and ad items to it constantly. Even write down the dreams you have for other people. Do you want to see your child succeed or your partner quit their job and pursue a lifelong passion? Add that to the list, too.
You’ll discover certain items on the list tug at your heart-strings more than others. These are your dreams. Knowing what they are is your first step to achieving them.
Part 2 is this-a-way!
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